Ex-LSU student convicted in fraternity hazing death of freshman

The conviction of Matthew Naquin, 21, of Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, is the latest example of the hard line increasingly taken by prosecutors when fraternity activities turn deadly, whether from alcohol abuse or from physical violence.

Ex-LSU student convicted in fraternity hazing death of freshman

The conviction of Matthew Naquin, 21, of Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, is the latest example of the hard line increasingly taken by prosecutors when fraternity activities turn deadly, whether from alcohol abuse or from physical violence.

Prosecutors argued that Naquin was the ringleader of a hazing event called “Bible study” that required the Phi Delta Theta pledges to chug alcohol if they gave the wrong answer to trivia questions or failed to correctly recite the Greek alphabet. His lawyer said many fraternity members took part in the ritual and argued that Naquin had been unfairly singled out.

Maxwell Gruver, 18, of Roswell, Georgia, died Sept. 14, 2017, the day after the fraternity event, prosecutors said. He had a blood alcohol content of 0.496 percent, more than six times the legal limit for driving, and had aspirated vomit into his lungs.

Naquin faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced Oct. 16, said his lawyer, John McLindon. Naquin faces a separate charge of obstruction of justice for allegedly deleting information from his phone, he said.

Hillar Moore III, the East Baton Rouge district attorney, said Wednesday that Naquin “stood out” among the fraternity members who tormented pledges during the activity, which required them to stand in a dark hallway facing a wall while a strobe light flashed and loud music played.

“Everyone kept saying he was the one who led everything, who made people drink more, who asked questions,” Moore said. “This is grain alcohol — this is 180-proof or 190-proof alcohol. It is what they put tissue samples in to study them in a lab, when you have to wear a hood.”

Naquin was one of 10 students arrested after Gruver died, but he was the only one charged with negligent homicide. He was expelled from LSU in the month after the death.

McLindon said his client was considering an appeal.

“It was a hazing event, but there were probably 10 other active members up there that night and at least five of them were handing out alcohol,” he said. “Matthew didn’t do anything differently from those boys, but he got picked out because he is very loud.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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